BANGALORE: The aerospace industry in Bangalore has the potential to achieve $20 billion in revenues over the next 10 to 15 years if the state government is able to nurture an ecosystem that attracts global companies, said the India head of UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS).
Part of the $64 billion US-based United Technologies, UTAS is the largest MNC aerospace manufacturer in India and was part of the task force that helped bring out the country's first aerospace policy in Karnataka. "Bangalore is the aerospace capital of this country.
However, the government has to attract companies to invest here," said Chris Rao, VP, UTAS. While the state has created a 1,000-acre aerospace park adjacent to the Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru, the project isn't attracting global tier I aerospace manufacturers. Bangalore has the right talent pool, which has been nurtured over the years by public sector enterprises such as HAL, DRDO and ISRO. Rao said, "If they (government) go about the project (aerospace park) by just selling land parcels then they aren't developing an ecosystem concept. You would get speculators (buying into real estate) rather than industry guys and that's where it's at right now." He added that for tier I companies to set up shop, an aerospace SEZ would have to have tier III and IV suppliers as well as academic and training institutions.
"We are telling the government to develop the park as an ecosystem. Give it to an ecosystem developer, not a real estate developer because that's where the problem starts.
Industry should invest in technology and people, not in land and infrastructure," said Rao. At present, the aerospace industry is concentrated in the US and Europe. With most companies looking to expand outside of these two markets, India and China are gaining a lot of attention. However, China has been facing concerns over intellectual property rights, so aerospace companies are looking keenly at India. UTAS, which got a foothold in to India through its global $19 billion acquisition of Goodrich two years ago, manufactures evacuation slides, lighting systems, cargo systems, seating systems, sensors and integrated systems, and electrical power systems for Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
"On an average about 60% of the global production of these products are done out of Bangalore," said Rao. UTAS employs close to 2,000 people and has outgrown its 700,000 sqft facility located in the IT hub of Whitefield. "We want to reach a stage where we can design, develop, manufacture and support products from India. There are still areas in which we need to shore up our competencies, especially on the design side," added Rao.